A MAN suffering from “severe mental illness” died after being hit by a train half-a-mile from Stanford-le-Hope train station, an inquest has heard.

Ben Womersley, 28, from St Norwich, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in his early twenties.

He was hit by a train going at 60mph near Stanford-le-Hope at 5.45am on April 14, 2008, and died from multiple injuries.

The jury inquest heard from Dr Liam Callinan, a psychiatrist, who treated Mr Womersley and described his condition as “severe”.

He said Mr Womersley “lacked understanding and insight” into the severity of his illness “exacerbated by the intermittent use of drugs” to alleviate the symptoms.

He explained symptoms for patients included suffering with hallucinations and hearing voices.

Mr Womersley’s two sisters Claire and Katy were present at the inquest at the Shire Hall in Chelmsford on Tuesday.

Claire told the inquest: “We don’t believe Ben committed suicide, we believe he was suffering from one of his episodes where he didn’t know where or who he was.

“He was very frustrated about the world and he had an opinion on everything. He was much loved by us all.”

The inquest heard Mr Womersley didn’t know Stanford-le-Hope and it was a mystery how he came to be in Thurrock.

He had been an in-patient at Clevedon Hospital in Norfolk, but was discharged three months before his death.

Ivan Harwood, a nurse with the team, said: “The last time I saw Ben at his flat he had a rucksack packed with camping equipment and he said he was going hiking. There was no cause for concern.”

An open verdict was recorded.